Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful and unique places in India. It offers experiences unlike any other in the world. Littered with forts, palaces and museums, a Rajasthan trip will take you back into the era of maharajas, kingdoms and royalty. A desert land, Rajasthan is the most vibrant state of India that is sure to leave an everlasting impression on your minds with its’ festivals, colours, song, dance and the warm hospitality echoed by the philosophy engrained in every Rajasthani who welcomes you with open arms by saying “Padharo Mhare Des” meaning “Welcome to my land”. A Rajasthan tour plan to any corner of this princely state will treat you with exotic food, culture and is sure to make you feel like royalty. On a Rajasthan trip, you will forget where you came from as you find yourself immersed in the infectious and deep-rooted culture as you explore this jewel in the crown of India.
The most popular Rajasthan tour plan starts from Delhi. The best way to go on a Delhi to Rajasthan road trip is to rent a self-drive car or a chauffeur-driven car from Delhi which is located just over 250 km from Jaipur, your gateway to Rajasthan. Give yourself atleast 1-2 weeks to not only explore but to understand the land of Rajasthan. Since Rajasthan is predominantly a desert state covered with the Thar Desert, the weather is mostly warm and dry. It is best to travel to Rajasthan in the months from September – March when the weather is pleasant during the day and cool during the night. But no matter how much time you have on your hands, it is not going to be enough to explore Rajasthan. There is so much history in this one state, that it is impossible to take it all in one Rajasthan trip. But it is surely possible to cover the most important highlights on a Rajasthan trip by following the itinerary and some of the recommendations given below.
Delhi to Jaipur – 280 km
Start your Rajasthan road trip by taking National Highway 8 from Delhi to the pink city of Jaipur. A city full of experiences, you can easily spend a week in Jaipur exploring the forts, palaces and vibrant local bazaars. But if you are short on time, make sure to explore the historic Amer Fort, the mysterious Hawa Mahal, the romantic Jal Mahal and most definitely, shop in the local markets to pick up handicrafts, trinkets, jootis and some traditional garments. Chokhi Dhani resort is a good place to spend an evening which is like a “Mini Rajasthan” where you can experience all things Rajasthani including the food, culture, music, dance and traditions. Once you have had a taste of Rajasthan in Jaipur, you will be left wanting for more. So get ready to step back into time by venturing deep into the desert as you continue your Rajasthan road trip.
Jaipur to Khimsar – 300 km
Get ready to be lost in the legends, mysteries, folklores and kingdoms as your Rajasthan tour takes you towards Khimsar. You will find that the roads in Rajasthan are one of the best in India and a Rajasthan road trip is going to be one of the easiest and smoothest road trip experiences of your life. Located just 15 minutes from the undulating sand dunes of Thar desert, Khimsar Fort is unspoilt and well preserved
like a royal palace. Explore the regal palace and don’t miss the royal collection of vintage cars proudly displayed in the courtyard. In the evening, drive to the sand dunes and soak in the romantic, tranquil and unspoilt atmosphere while watching a sunset and sipping a cup of tea.
Khimar to Jaisalmer via Osian – 330 km
Your Rajasthan trip is going to take you into the core of the Rajasthan desert as you drive towards the former princely state of Jaisalmer. But before you reach Jaisalmer, take a small detour and go to Osian, an ancient town near Jodhpur which will appear like an oasis in the desert. This is the advantage of going on a Rajasthan road trip, you can take a detour whenever you want and venture into those parts of the state that are even difficult to find on a tourist map. Leave the crowds behind as you reach Osian and experience one of the best meals of your life in a local village home. You will be made to sit on the floor and served a traditional “Rajasthani Thali” cooked right in front of you by the women of the house. Talk with the villagers and understand more about their lives and traditions, as they lovingly serve you home-cooked food with a lot of warmth. Post lunch, hop on a camel’s back to go for a relaxing ride into the Thar desert. Let your guide tell you stories and folklores about the region as you listen to some folk music while looking far ahead towards the desert horizon.
The Osian experience will make you feel closer to the people of Rajasthan after which get back in your car and continue your Rajasthan road trip towards Jaisalmer. Named after its founder Rawal Jaisal, Jaisalmer is known as the “golden city” due to its distinguished yellow sandstone architecture. Dominated by the Jaisalmer Fort or Sonar Qila (Golden Fort), it is the only living fort in the world where you will find homes, shops and restaurants still operational. You can even choose to stay in a small hotel or home inside the fort walls. Located close to the Pakistan border not far from Longewala which became famous as the site of the Indo Pakistan War in 1971, Jaisalmer is one of the most sought after destinations in Rajasthan. Make sure that your Rajasthan tour plan includes a few days to explore Jaisalmer including the fort, the bazaar and at least one evening at the famous Sam Sand Dunes located a few kilometres outside the city. The eternal beauty of the Sam Sand dunes makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan where you can hop on a camel and go deep into the desert to witness a gorgeous sunset. You will experience Rajasthan in all its glory when you find yourself lost in the middle of the Sam Sand Dunes. Also explore other famous tourist attractions in the city including the Gadisar Lake, constructed in the 14th century to meet the water needs of the arid lands and the Bada Bagh, a garden complex housing the royal cenotaphs of the Maharajas of Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer to Jodhpur – 300 km
Enjoy a hearty breakfast in Jaisalmer and continue your Rajasthan road trip by leaving the golden city and drive towards the “blue city” of Jodhpur. En route, you will have nothing but barren lands, a silky tarmac and uninhabited terrains for company for hours. You might spot some desert antelopes along the way so keep a lookout as you continue driving through the arid landscape of the Thar desert. Upon reaching Jodhpur, check into a heritage property before you start exploring the second largest city of Rajasthan. If there is just one thing that you must include as part of your Rajasthan trip in Jodhpur, it is the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. A former palace, it is now a museum displaying weapons, paintings and elaborate royal palanquins. Take an elevator and go to the top of the fort from where you will get a bird’s eye view of the many houses and buildings painting in the city’s iconic shade of blue.
Jodhpur to Udaipur – 250 km
Another day on your Rajasthan road trip that is sure to impress you with more grandeur than ever before as you drive towards Udaipur but on the way, make sure to stop at the Kumbhalgarh Fort. A Mewar fortress on the westerly range of the Aravali Hills, Kumbhalgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 15th century. This fort attracts travellers not only for its pristine location and architectural grandeur, but mostly because it is also home to the second-longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. Climb up the cobbled stairs to explore the fort and take a stroll on the majestic wall before continuing your Rajasthan tour towards Udaipur. Built by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559, Udaipur is set around many artificial lakes and is known for its lavish royal residences. The most important place to visit in Udaipur is the City Palace overlooking Lake Pichola, a monumental complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens. As you continue exploring the “City of Lakes”, you will understand why it is known as the most romantic destination in all of India. Take a boat ride on the Lake Pichola and visit the grand Lake Palace Hotel for a meal or explore the numerous bazaars scattered around the city and soak in the bustle, colours, lively art scene and pick up some handcrafted souvenirs before saying goodbye to Udaipur.
Udaipur to Jaipur – 425 km
It is almost time to come back to reality as your Rajasthan road trip draws to an end. Today, you are going to drive back to Jaipur, make sure to enjoy the very last day of driving through the arid landscapes of this princely state. It is going to be a long day so its best to start early so that you reach Jaipur before sunset and can enjoy the evening exploring those parts of the Pink City that you were not able to do when you began your Rajasthan trip. If you have more time at hand and wish to take a break from exploring history, you can do something more interactive by watching a film at the grand and historic “Raj Mandir” cinema hall built in 1976 and considered one of the most iconic cinema halls of India that has seen movie premieres of many Bollywood films.
On this royal Rajasthan road trip, you have experienced the best of what this princely state has to offer. But all that you have seen is still the not enough to appreciate the grandeur and charms of Rajasthan as there is a lot more to explore, experience and indulge in the deep and remote parts of the Thar desert where you will find more hidden forts and palaces each of which has a unique story to tell. If Rajasthan has touched your soul as it does with most people who come here, say goodbye to this state as it bids farewell to you with open arms and is always ready to welcome you with open arms.